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counfel of the Moft High may be an object fometimes attainable by that ingenuity of inconfiftent explanation, which, even while it prunes the exterior branches of an unsubstantial fyftem, labours to guard the trunk from attack. To fubdue them, the axe must be laid to the root: the falfe doctrine must be manifefted to be falfe. To the fervent piety and the practical holiness of numbers of our Christian brethren, who conceive themselves to read in the word of God the tenets in queftion, my teftimony, however unimportant, I rejoice to bear. But constrained as I have repeatedly been to know the terrors which those tenets have produced, it seems an act of duty in addreffing perfons expofed to fimilar terrors not to withhold my deliberate conviction, that the tenets are destitute of scriptural support: and that the detached paffages of Holy Writ whence they are deduced fairly admit, when confidered in themselves, and clearly demand, when taken in conjunction with the reft of Scripture, a very different interpretation. For the prefent purpose it may be fufficient to refer the defponding fufferer to fome plain paffages of the divine word, which teach that falvation, in every respect unattainable but through our Lord Jefus
Jefus Chrift, is through Him open to every man: and that on every man of rational faculties the free mercy of God bestows for the fake of the great Redeemer a portion of antecedent grace so far influencing the will, the understanding, and the heart, as, without intrenching on moral agency, to enable him, if diligent in the application of grace received, to obtain through the blood of the cross an inheritance among the faints. Have I any pleafure that the wicked should die, faith the Lord God? As I live, faith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from way, and live. Turn ye, turn ye; why will ye die (d)? Can we frame to the imagination any sense, in which these words could be uttered without delufion; if there were any person not actually enabled by divine grace, in will no less than in every other requifite faculty, to turn unto God? The Lord is not willing that any should perish; but that all should come to repentance (e). God our Saviour will have all men to be faved (f). Jefus tafted death for every man (g); gave himself a ransom for all (b);
(d) Ezek. xviii. 23. (ƒ) 1 Tim. ii. 3, 4.
(e) 2 Pet. iii. 9. (b) 1 Tim. ii. 6.
is the propitiation for the fins of the whole world (i). Could any one of these declarations have been made, if there had been a fingle individual actually or virtually "paffed over," in the plan of redemption; unconditionally excluded from the poffibi lity of obtaining falvation through Jefus Chrift; unbleffed with that preventing influence on his will, without which he must remain incapable of profiting by the Redeemer's death; tantalized by offers of mercy, with which he is left morally incompetent to clofe? Would our Lord have commanded his difciples to preach the Gospel to every creature (k); if there had been a fingle perfon to whom it must neceffarily have been preached in vain? And muft it not neceffarily have been preached in vain to the man, had fuch there been, whom God had not freed by the antecedent operation of His grace upon the will from all impoffibility of believing? Is it poffible that redemption can be general, if election renders it neceffarily partial? Is it true that all men may be faved, if God bestows only on certain felect individuals
() John, ii. 12.
() Mark, xvi. 16.
the preventing grace without which no man can be faved? Is it not trifling to affirm that all may be faved, "if they will;" while without the preventing grace of God, faid to be bestowed only on the elect, no man can "will?" Are these conclufions to be evaded by a verbal distinction; by replying that it is not a "natural" but a "moral" impoffibility which precludes those who are not of the number of the elect from falvation? As though the most effential part of a man's nature were not the moral conftitution which he brings into the world! I forbear to accumulate fcriptural paffages fimilar in import to those which have been produced. The views which God has difclofed of his own attri butes, and the univerfal tenor of his word, are altogether at variance with the opinions which it has here been requifite to withstand. Fear not, ye mourners. Every. man may become one of God's elect. Go forth and profper. The way of falvation, unbarred to the whole world, lies before you. Enter it, pursue it, in the strength of your God.
IV. To perfons who truly repent through Chrift, yet are at the fame time oppreffed
by a proneness to defpondence, the following practical fuggeftions may not be altogether ufelefs.
Direct your thoughts habitually and impartially to all the attributes and "the 6c whole counsel of God." Remember His mercy no less than his juftice; his redeeming love no less than his holy abhorrence of fin. Fix your attention no lefs ftedfaftly on the promises than on the threatenings of Scripture: on the encouragements held forth to the penitent, no less earnestly than on the curfes denounced against the careless and the prefumptuous. Be not eafily moved with apprehension that you pay more than proportionate regard to the confolations of the Gofpel. The inherent bias of dejection will draw you with fufficient force towards the confines of unwarranted alarm. Beware left it urge you across the boundary.
In reflecting on your paft fins, let them be regarded as grounds of habitual selfabasement, of profpective watchfulness, of zealous diligence, of unwearied exertion, of grateful and fervent love towards God your Redeemer for the ftupendous falvation fet before you. But view them' not as obftacles to the forgiveness and accept